Rundown £12M country estate dating back 900 years is to be restored

Earl of Cardigan’s £12million ancestral estate near Wolf Hall is to become family home after grand plans to restore rundown 100-room property are approved

  • Tottenham House in Wiltshire dates back 900 years to the Norman Conquest 
  • The dilapidated estate was sold in 2014 for £11.25million to a mystery buyer
  • With more than 90,000 square feet of floor space, it is anticipated 69 staff will be required to run it

A historic but rundown country estate is set to become one of the world’s finest mansions after plans were approved for a dazzling restoration.

Only the world’s billionaires are likely to be able to carry out the work on Tottenham House, a Wiltshire residence which is around 100 times the size of the average family home.

It is steeped in history, dating back more than 900 years to the Norman Conquest, but the Grade I Listed mansion and its grand outbuildings, which were part of the Earl of Cardigan’s ancestral estate, are now is a poor state of repair following years of neglect.

Tottenham House in the Savernake Forest is the ancestral home of Lord Cardigan who commanded the Light Brigade during the Crimean War

The estate was sold in 2014 for £11.25million to an unnamed buyer and extravagant plans were last year submitted to Wiltshire Council to return the rundown pile to a single residence for the first time in more than 70 years.

And with more than 90,000 square feet of floor space, the mansion will be of such opulence and scale that it is anticipated 69 staff would be required to run it at a cost of more than £3million per year.

Wiltshire Council approved the plans on Thursday evening – paving the way for an extraordinary restoration.

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On top of reviving the main residence, the derelict stable block will be transformed into staff accommodation, a banqueting house would be built and a lake and cricket pitch would be installed in the grounds.

A planning report states: ‘The proposed scheme will make Tottenham House one of the very best private residences in the world, with facilities unlike anything available anywhere else.

‘To succeed it must be exceptional with the widest possible appeal to those with the greatest financial means.

‘The pool of potential buyers at any one time will, however, be highly limited.’

Plans submitted for the restoration of Tottenham House in the Savernake Forest the ancestral home of Lord Cardigan

Savills estimates when completed, Tottenham House will require 69 members of staff, including butlers, nannies, housekeepers, chauffeurs, pilots and security staff.

Staff wages are expected to be around £1.7million per year and it will cost £172,500 alone to heat the mansion.

It will be operated on the same scale as a mid-sized hotel and around 25 staff would have to live permanently on site.

A spokesperson for Turley, which worked on the proposals, said: ‘We have always firmly believed that the best, indeed the only, way to achieve the restoration of Tottenham House and Estate is to ensure once again that the house serves its original purpose as a single-family home.

‘We are delighted that the committee supports us on this vision and has resolved to grant permission for this project of national importance.’

Plans show the lower ground floor will be dedicated to leisure and maintenance, boasting a pool, billiard room, cinema, bar and spa along with a number of offices, staff rooms, kitchens and laundry rooms.

The ground floor will be for entertaining – with a grand dining room, drawing room, living room, library, winter garden and enormous halls. 

The orangery will be transformed into a ‘state dining room’.

The extraordinary property was sold to mystery buyer in 2014 for £11.25million 

Upstairs will be the living quarters, which will consist of a staggering master bedroom suite that includes his and her bedrooms, his and her bathrooms and his and her dressing rooms.

In total there will be eight bedroom suites, all boasting dressing rooms and bathrooms.

The third floor will house the staff bedrooms and numerous office rooms.

On top of the restorations, new build accommodation is also planned along with new stables, an indoor/outdoor riding school and a swimming pool and tennis pavilion.

Tottenham House, near Marlborough, was part of the Savernake Estate which dates back to the Norman Conquest when it was a Royal Hunting forest.

The first record of a house in the current location was when Henry VIII visited Sir John Seymour at Wolf Hall and members of the Seymour family are said to have stayed at Tottenham Lodge.

Henry VIII met Jane Seymour at Wolf hall, marrying her in 1536. This elevated the family and the estate was passed into the personal ownership of the Seymours in 1547.

The estate passed down the female line of the Seymour family to the Bruce family, who became the Brudenell-Bruces.

The current Earl of Cardigan, David Brudenell-Bruce lost, lost ownership of the house in 2014 following a legal battle with trustees.

Tom Hudson, director, country home specialists Middleton Advisors, said: ‘It is without doubt one of the most magnificent private homes in Wessex.

‘The Savernake Forest that surrounds the estate is a beautiful block of ancient woodland and the park itself that surrounds the house is exceptional.

‘Unlike so many other beautiful country houses of this period, the estate desperately needs investment and rejuvenation and the new owner will undoubtedly do this.

‘I can’t think of a home of the size and with this amount of land that has been restored as a family home in a long time. Normally homes of this size are used for events and festivals to help with costs.

‘There is nothing like it on the market at the moment and it would be fascinating if it ever does come onto the market.’

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